This 15 night Around Spitsbergen sailing voyage provides our longest exploration of this polar archipelago with its mountains, fjords, glaciers and spectacular wildlife. The voyage is planned during August when the ice has receded sufficiently to permit access to the eastern coast an area which for most of the year is blocked by ice . This timing provides the best chance to fully circumnavigate Spitsbergen, with opportunities to observe some wonderful Arctic wildlife. Above the water we can hope to see walruses, reindeer and Arctic foxes and with luck polar bears.
Of, marine life past voyages have enjoyed sightings of the ghostly white form of beluga whales, as well as fin whales, minke whales, sei whales and even the rare bowhead whale. Seals are common and species include the bearded and ringed seals.
An abundance of migratory seabirds reside in Spitsbergen during the High Arctic Summer. Species include Arctic and pomarine skuas, rare Ross's gulls and countless little auks and guillemots; many of which are stacked on precipitous cliffs. Whilst exploring these vast colonies, we can look out for the Arctic foxes which raise their young close to nesting areas which provide an ideal source of food for them and their cubs. Opportunities to photograph both Arctic scenery and wildlife throughout the entire voyage are abundant. We take twice daily opportunities to go hiking on land, with visits to cultural and historical sites forming an integral aspect of the trip. Our expedition leader and knowledgeable skipper are passionate about both the history and nature of this polar environment and are permanently on hand to offer a comprehensive guiding experience.
This is an archipelago of contrasting land and seascapes and our Around Spitsbergen voyage gives you a broad experience of what the region has to offer. On the western coasts of the island group, where the waters and tundra vegetation are influenced by the Gulf Stream, stunning glaciers plummet into deep fjords. The eastern side of Spitsbergen is littered with fields of floating ice and it is here where you most may feel in the midst of remote Arctic wilderness.
Your base throughout the voyage is a handsome one hundred year old sailing schooner, reminiscent of the kind of ship Arctic explorers in the late eighteenth century might have used to explore this polar wilderness. With only 20 passengers onboard, this charismatic vessel boasts comfortable cabins, hot showers, central heating, good food and two beautifully wood-panelled salons to relax in. The spacious pilot house provides excellent all round visibility and with ample space onboard it is always possible to find your own peace and place from which to absorb the sheer drama and scale of this Arctic wilderness. Sailing takes place only when wind and sea conditions allow and you may participate in sailing the vessel if you wish, or simply relax and enjoy the activity.
For those keen on photography, an Around Spitsbergen Voyage provides the greatest variety of landscapes, for which the ship herself is a wonderful subject. This is our longest midsummer voyage which means that you will have the greatest amount of time afloat to for chance encounters with Arctic wildlife.
Photographs kindly provided by Jan Belgers, Troels Jacobsen, Charlotte Caffrey, Rolf Stange, Richard Escott & Ralph Pannell
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